Tag Archives: indie author

Teaser Tuesday: Bound by Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes, BoundI’ve been looking forward to reading this book since I downloaded it in July. And hey, since it’s the first book in a trilogy it will count toward my Series Challenge for 2014. Bonus!  Here’s a teaser from Kate Sparkes debut novel, Bound:

“Peggy knew what I was. Every time she glanced in my direction, her thoughts jumped to the preserved dragon head in the back room.”

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Starting out as an indie author: Interview with Kate Sparkes, author of BOUND

Fantastic interview with indie author Kate Sparkes. Congratulations on your success Kate!

Ruth Nestvold - Indie Adventures

For this week’s installment of “Starting out as an indie author” I offer you an interview with new writer Kate Sparkes, who — to judge by her rankings in the Amazon store — “did it right.” She published her first novel, Bound, in June 2014. The novel is a YA fantasy and the first in a trilogy – and has a beautiful cover that makes me drool. 🙂

Kate Sparkes, Bound

As of today, the book already has 88 reviews with an average of 4.7. The rankings in the Amazon US Kindle store are also impressive:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
#4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Science Fiction & Fantasy…

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FLASH GIVEAWAY: “Writing For You” is FREE March 10-14!

If you’ve read any posts on Victoria’s blog, then you know the quality of this book is undeniable. Unbelievably, it’s FREE until Friday. Get your copy today and spread the word!

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 1.37.23 PM I have never done a giveaway of “Writing For You: A Novelist’s Guide to the Craft of Fiction.” And I think it’s time!

To that end, the Kindle version of my writer’s handbook will be FREE Monday, March 10- Friday, March 14 during a flash promotion.

You can read the preface here if you’d like an explanation of why I wrote a writer’s handbook (based heavily upon this blog and its backlog of posts) and what I was hoping to accomplish.

For another sneak peek, you can read part of the introduction right here: it’s a reflection why we would ever be crazy enough to write fiction in the first place.

I hope you enjoy your free download! You don’t owe me anything in return, but I would most definitely appreciate any help you can give spreading the word about the promotion (and about this blog)…. Please help others know…

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Book Review: Fearless by Devon Hartford

FearlessFearless (The Story of Samantha Smith #1) by Devon Hartford

Book Description (from Amazon): FEARLESS is the first in a series of full length novels. At the age of sixteen, Samantha Smith’s innocence was shattered in the blink of an eye. She kept the pain to herself for three years, burying her terrible secret beneath black clothes and black makeup, afraid to tell anyone. The price for her silence was the loss of her happiness and all of her friends. After moving from stuffy Washington D.C. to laid back San Diego, where Samantha is now a freshman at San Diego University, she is determined to find new friends and reclaim her optimistic spirit. Having thrown away her goth exterior, she hopes that her new sunny look will heal her wounds.  Dreaming of adventure, she wishes to escape the humdrum middle-class existence that has repressed her fiery nature for as long as she can remember. But her parents are pressuring her to major in Accounting because it’s the safe thing to do. Samantha secretly considers ditching the business major to study Art, a choice that would horrify her parents if they ever found out. When Samantha crosses paths with a troubled, handsome, tattoo-clad bad boy, her life spins into overdrive, and Samantha finds herself with more adventure than she ever dreamed possible.

My Review: What attracted me to this book? Uh, did you see the hot guy on the cover? {Take heed new authors: the cover is one of the most significant ways to get noticed} That got my attention, but that’s not what had me intrigued. It was the main character, Samantha Smith.

After reading the book description, I immediately related to her. No, I never went through a goth phase, but I was that girl who majored in Accounting because it was the safe thing to do. I also took Art classes because I loved it. I’m a creative being. I even switched my major to Art for a semester, but the doubts crept in. I was certain I would end up being a starving artist, so I switched back to the safe and boring world of Accounting.

Unlike the main character, my parents never forced me into that decision, at least not directly. They were both artistic people. I remember being amazed when my father drew a picture of Buddy, our pet owl. I didn’t even know he could draw, and his rendering resembled a photograph.

My parents unintentionally sent the message that art was something you did “on the side,” by choosing other careers. So I stayed with Accounting and did that for the next twenty years. But what if I had chosen another path? Would my life have been similar to that of Samantha Smith?

I was curious enough to read the book and find out. Like Samantha, I took Life Drawing and the model that posed nude in our class bore no resemblance to the “tattoo-clad bad boy” on the cover. In fact, the model wasn’t even male. Here’s a drawing I did of her from one of those classes:

LifeDrawingIf the handsome bad-boy had made an appearance, maybe I would’ve stuck with it. 🙂

All this to say Devon Hartford described a character I could relate to. I understood that yearning, the desire to be true to myself. That is what initially had me reading the story, but that’s where the similarities ended.

There were times when I couldn’t understand Samantha’s actions. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. The bad boy was such a narcissistic, male chauvinist pig that I was sure he had chosen the name Adonis himself. He really turned me off at first, and I couldn’t understand why Samantha was still attracted to him. A handsome face and nice body can only get you so far. There were times when the character’s actions just didn’t seem to fit.

But, as the story progressed, more was revealed about them. A person isn’t always what they appear to be on the surface. A tortured past wreaks havoc on the human psyche. Thankfully, Adonis became known as Christos, a name and character that was more palatable to me (that’s what’s known as character arc). I was intrigued enough to keep reading, and enjoyed the story overall.

4 out of 5 stars

Guest Blog: Maniacal Mal’s Monster Market by Charles Yallowitz

Please welcome my first guest blogger, Charles Yallowitz, author of the Legends of Windemere fantasy series. You can find my (not so typical) review of the first book, Beginning of a Hero in the post, Whisked Off to the Magical World of Windemere: One Reader’s Adventure. His newly released Prodigy of Rainbow Tower is available on Amazon at just 99 cents for the month of August. Join the adventure and pick up one or both of his books today.

I follow Charles’ blog faithfully because:

  1. He writes fantasy fiction (one of my favorite genres),
  2. The content of his blog is interesting and informative (especially for aspiring authors who want to self-publish),
  3. I’m generally always guaranteed a laugh, if not in the post then in his interactions with others in the comments section, and
  4. I love to see Ionia (no last name necessary) pick on him. Don’t be surprised if she takes a stab at him here.

And now, drum roll please, the inaugural guest blogger post.

Maniacal Mal’s Monster Market


Welcome to Maniacal Mal’s Monster Market!  So, I’m told you’re going to write a story and use some monsters.  We have everything in stock from dragons to zombies to four-faced catfish that eat ships.  What do we call that last one?  Name it whatever you want.  Last author called it behemoth and the guy before that leviathan.  I believe the person before that simply called it Burt.

I see you’re interested in the undead area.  They’re a common choice these days, so we have a lot of specials on zombies.  Buy one horde and get three special zombies free to use when the plot needs a surprise.  I’ll leave the explanations behind them to you since I’m not the one writing the story.  If you’re interested we also have some skeletons.  Not as scary and mostly sold for children’s movies these days.  The rest of the undead are in the back collecting dust.  I hear mummies might be coming back.  I know.  Everyone loves zombies.  The zombie obsession is putting thirty kids through college and only two of them are mine.

We have a lot of aliens that we’re trying to get rid of.  We thought there would be a surge of unique alien types after M.I.B 3, but people still want the tall, bipedal gangly ones.  For those, we give you the basic model and you can alter in the transformer tube.  Still, I would like to point out that we’re practically giving away the non-humanoid aliens.  No?  They’re going to be used for dragon food by the end of the week, so now’s the time.  Sure, I’ll get that fluffy . . . oh . . . do you want the alien that ate the fluffy one?

I wouldn’t go over there unless you’re sure you want one of those.  That building has the orcs, goblins, and other humanoid creatures you find in fantasy novels.  We have a few samples in there and bulk order the others if you decide.  The problem is that they’re incredibly needy and have been known to board the doors until a customer chooses one.  Ever wonder why you’ll read a fantasy book and a lone hobgoblin is shown for some reason?  This would be why.  Makes no sense since they’re pack creatures and the loners that go out never come back alive.  They may look ugly, but they can die of loneliness like the rest of us.

What was that?  No.  You’re too green for Cthulu.  Don’t even ask where we keep him.

I can see you want the big monsters for those death-defying fights.  Come out onto the balcony and I’ll show you the reserve.  See all those roaring, screeching, and deadly beasties?  We have dragons, giants, griffins, pegasi, unicorns, and whatever else you can remember from your childhood.  Each one can be altered to your whim or you can choose from the catalogue where we keep all the previous ideas.  All we ask is that you return them intact, so you’ll get a rebuilding kit for when they’re slain.  Small word of warning on the dragons: they really appreciate lozenges and mints.  Give them some of those and your furniture will be fire free until you’re done.

I see you have that glint in your eyes.  You’ve made a decision?  Ah, you want some unique monsters.  For that, we would have to go to the Egg Dispenser.  You sit in the chair and look at all the choices of body parts, powers, and whatever else is in the machine.  We put a special helmet on you to pick out any options that aren’t listed.  You piece your monster together and we give you the egg, so it will imprint on you upon hatching.  Once you’re done with it, you can keep the monster or send it back for store credit.

Made your decision?  Okay.  That’ll be three dragons with one red, one black, and one pink.  You want five snake monsters and a couple hundred ogres.  You know, we have a deal where you get a free demon if you buy a fourth dragon.  Great.  I suggest an orange one because you don’t see them very often.  Would you like anything else?  Three eggs to be determined after lunch.  Excellent.  Glad to do business with you.  Mind if I ask what series you’re working on?  Legends of Windemere . . . sounds interesting.  Good luck.

Terrific Advice for Indie Authors and Aspiring Authors

How to Sell a Million Books (Vlog Joanna Penn interviews CJ Lyons

CJLyonsIf you haven’t seen this interview, I highly recommend that you check it out. CJ Lyons gives some very valuable advice for authors, particularly aspiring authors interested in self publishing. She also maintains a blog for writers at www.NoRulesJustWrite.com.